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CB Editions (2018)
PP. 184
RRP £8.99

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Murmur


Longlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2019
Longlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2019
Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2018
Shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2017
Book of the Year in: The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, New Scientist, Australian Review of Books, Review 31

Taking its cue from the arrest and legally enforced chemical castration of the mathematician Alan Turing, Murmur is the account of a man who responds to intolerable physical and mental stress with love, honour and a rigorous, unsentimental curiosity about the ways in which we perceive ourselves and the world.

“At this uncertain cultural moment arrives Will Eaves’s remarkable new novel Murmur – a novel of both science and subjective consciousness, painfully aware of the shortcomings of the act of narration ... Murmur’s transgressive power lies at the level both of language and of structure ... Will Eaves has achieved one of the pinnacles of novelistic endeavour: he has given deep thought to human experience, and in doing so brought to life the “self-conscious wonder” of thought itself.”
– Sam Byers, Times Literary Supplement

Murmur is a novel of multiple ideas, which seems right given its main protagonist, Alec Pryor, is loosely based on the predicament of the philosophical mathematician Alan Turing.  It is also a novel forged from an immensely beautiful writing intelligence. Murmur is a fully achieved literary experiment, digging deep into all the dimensions of human consciousness, including state sanctioned savagery.” 
– Deborah Levy, Goldsmiths Prize Judge

“Endlessly rewarding, it is a shining example of the moral and imaginative possibilities of fiction.”
– Justine Jordan, Guardian Books of the Year

“The premise is startlingly ambitious: what if we could think our way into Alan Turing’s dreams? It’s the sort of thing Turing himself might have attempted as he tried to move between minds, questing for limits of shared comprehension. But a novelist imagining the unconscious of a genius and finding words for his visions – can that be wise? Yes, if the writer is Will Eaves. Scrupulous, humane, sad and strange, [Murmur] is as bracingly intelligent as it is brave.
   . . . Huge efforts are being made in contemporary universities to foster dialogues between arts and sciences. In this, as in most things he touched, Turing leapt over boundaries, barely noticing that they were there. He was a philosopher and a psychologist, as well as a computational mathematician and biologist. Eaves conducts narrative experiments that honour that legacy. He knows that Turing’s theories of consciousness have implications for fiction, and that fiction can operate at the frontiers of what we know about the workings of our minds.”
     –  Alexandra Harris, Guardian

Murmur is a poignant meditation on the irrepressible complexity of human nature and sexuality, and a powerful indictment of the cowardice and groupthink that sustain state-sanctioned barbarism.”
     – Houman Barekat, Irish Times

“Will Eaves’s Murmur is masterful – compassionate, principled, and moving. It is deeply wise, with the aching loneliness of both human indignity and dignity, despair and courage.”
– Anne Michaels

“The narrator of Murmur is a mathematician and computer pioneer in pre-1960s Britain. Sentenced to hormone therapy for the “crime” of being gay, Alec Pryor is very obviously standing in for the computer genius and codebreaker Alan Turing. The book is a disorientating and hallucinatory exploration of a mind warped by the oestrogen medication stilboestrol, the treatment forced on Turing. An extraordinary exploration of dreams, consciousness, science and the future.”
     – Rowan Hooper, New Scientist Books of the Year

“Tender and funny, Murmur takes the tragic story of Turing’s life and punishment and ingeniously transforms it into something glittering, subversive, and even triumphant. Eaves has built a magnificently challenging memorial to one of the great twentieth-century martyrs.”
– Patrick Gale